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Convicted Bridgegate Defendants Sentenced to Prison

As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie re-emerged on the national stage yesterday as part of Trump's new heroin task force, his former aide, Bridget Kelley, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her part in Bridgegate.

A former top official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a former member of Gov. Christopher J. Christie’s senior staff were sentenced today to prison terms for their roles in a scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, by misusing Port Authority resources to cause traffic problems in the borough, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

William E. Baroni Jr., 45, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and Bridget Anne Kelly, 44, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie, to 18 months. On Nov. 4, 2016, Baroni and Kelly were each convicted following a six-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton on all seven counts with which they had been charged in an indictment returned May 1, 2015, by a federal grand jury. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.

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From the DOJ press release:

Baroni and Kelly were each convicted of conspiring to misuse, and actually misusing, property of an organization receiving federal benefits; conspiring to commit, and actually committing, wire fraud; conspiring to injure and oppress certain individuals’ civil rights, and acting under color of law to deprive certain individuals of their civil rights. All of the charges relate to the defendants’ scheme to manufacture traffic problems in Fort Lee by, without public warning, reducing from three to one the number of local access lanes, located in Fort Lee, to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge, and the toll booths servicing those lanes. This was done to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Gov. Christie’s re-election bid.

The sentencing judge's remarks were not flattering to Chris Christie:

While Mr. Christie was never charged in the scandal, Judge Susan D. Wigenton alluded to the political culture his administration created on Wednesday as she handed down her sentences against Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly at the federal courthouse in Newark, calling it a toxic “with us or against us” mentality detrimental to New Jersey residents.

“What occurred in September of 2013 was an outrageous display of abuse of power,” Judge Wigenton said.

William Baroni apologized for his actions at sentencing. From the quotes in the New York Times, Bridget Kelly did not seem remorseful. Instead, she told the judge how the investigation and prosecution had devastated her family (shorter version: she's suffered enough):

“Your honor, the last three and a half years have been devastating emotionally, financially and mentally,” she said. “The damage my children have suffered has been irreparable and the time that we have lost as a family due to the extreme stress is gone forever.”

And she ended by saying, “I respectfully ask that you allow me the opportunity to reconnect with my children and rebuild our lives.”

She reinforced her victimhood message after the sentencing was over, telling the press she would appeal, and:

“I will not allow myself to be the scapegoat in this case.”

How typical of Donald Trump:

During the Republican primary, in which Trump and Christie were rivals, Trump had said of Christie’s role in Bridgegate: “He totally knew about it.”

Chris Christie is lucky he didn't get indicted. The worst mistake he ever made was to stand by Trump's side after he dropped out the race. And today, he's still playing Donald Trump's lackey like he did in the campaign, as he finishes his last year as Governor. I think he's been permanently "eunuched".

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  • Display: Sort:
    Christie, meanwhile, can't be bothered. (none / 0) (#1)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 30, 2017 at 01:12:40 AM EST
    In an interview on NBC on Wednesday morning, the governor was asked whether he believed Baroni and Kelly should serve time behind bars.
    "The judge will do what the judge believes is appropriate," said Christie, who was in Washington for a White House event.